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In which Aly Grace gets a necklace, we eat Illinois State Fair food, and ride the tram

by davesandel on August 23rd, 2021

Monday, August 23, 2021 (today’s lectionary)

In which Aly Grace gets a necklace, we eat Illinois State Fair food, and ride the tram

Grace to you, and peace. We give thanks to God for you, remembering you in our prayers.

Aly Grace Sandel, 9 years old, was baptized last week by her parents Chris and Melissa. Yesterday, after gorging on Culler’s French Fries the last day at the Illinois State Fair, Margaret and I (I was Margaret’s proxy) presented her with a beautiful mini-diamond and blue gemstone cross necklace, to go with the necklace Melissa and Chris gave her last Sunday.

We wrote a card too, of course. The card came from Trader Joe’s in Austin, and its cover, a quotation from Jon Kabat-Zinn, said, “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf!” Margaret wrote, “You had a few exciting water adventures this summer with the final adventure being the biggest and best of all … being buried in your “Water Grave.”This gift is to remind you how much you are loved by God and your family.”

You know what sort of people we were among you; in every place your faith in God has gone forth.

Aly’s cousin Miles will be five in November. His birthday is halfway between his dad Aki’s on November 6 and his grandpa’s (me) on November 17. Miles birthday is on Veteran’s Day, which makes it easy to remember. He watched Aly’s baptism via video with eyes and mouth wide open. When Andi cheered for Aly, Miles jumped up and down.

Later he asked what baptism was for. “To show that Aly has accepted Jesus into her heart,” Andi told him. “But I did that awhile ago,” he said.

Andi and Aki talked some more with him about that, and then they made a sign together, and I’ve never seen a bigger smile than when Miles held that sign for his picture.

The Lord takes delight in his people. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing with timbrel and harp, for the Lord loves his people and he adorns the lowly with victory.

What else did we give Aly in honor of her baptism? I thought you’d never ask. We gave her $27. She asked Melissa, “Why $27?” So Melissa asked me. “Why, of course, I said. How old are you?”

“I’m 9, Grandpa, you know that.”

“Well, 2+7=9, right?” She said, “I knew there must be something!”

But then I thought of another something. “Also Aly, 9×3=27. You’re 9 years old, and you received God into your heart. And God’s number is 3, for the Trinity. So … there!”

Aly has become an evangelist. I’m becoming a godly mathematician.

After we ate the famous Culler’s fries, a number of corn dogs, drank lemon shakeups, and finally finished with a strange “tornado potato”, and just before we left the fair yesterday, Aly went down the giant yellow slalom slide on a blanket. “It’s a tradition,” she told me while the two of us were riding high over the fair together in a tram car. But I think she also went down that slide to remind herself that she’s still a kid, that the world will always be full of magic, and that God is alive, in her heart and all around.

(1 Thessalonians 1, Psalm 149, John 10, Matthew 23)

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